Wednesday 28 September 2011

SuperSizeArt - Giant works of Art inspired by classic 7" Vinyl

Artist Morgan Howell with some of his SuperSize Art - Photo with permission
The Word Magazine recently ran a competition to win one of these SuperSize Artworks, a giant hand finished painting of a 7" Vinyl single. I thought they were wonderful, a really original take on art inspired by music and a fitting tribute to those precious 7" singles that often have a big emotional attachment to their proud owners! I checked out a bit more about the company, contacted the Artist Morgan Howell and he kindly allowed me to post some examples of his work here on the Blog.

Jerry Dammers with SuperSize "Gangsters" - photo with permission
Morgan creates giant 3D printed canvas sleeves from original paintings of classic 45's. They are availabale as a deluxe super size print (68cm square) or more affordable over size print of 42cm square. The prints are lovingly hand finished, complete with crinkled edges and tears and are all signed and numbered by the Artist.

SuperSize "Heatwave" - photo with permission
There are also other less expensive options on sale such as poster prints and trader's cards and another side line in giant size versions of old comic book annuals such as Eagle. Check the Store here for examples, pricing and further information.

Don Letts with a SuperSize of The Clash's "Hammersmith Palais" - photo with permission 
Morgan is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and he was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2010. He is currently working on a public sculpture in St. Albans called "The Big V" based on three important periods in the Town's history.

Examples of his work are also on display at Snap Gallery, Piccadilly Arcade in London.

SuperSize Singles - Photo with permission
So, have a look at the site and see some examples of the records Morgan has been inspired by, I must say that apart from his talent as an Artist, he has pretty damn great taste in music too, right up the Retro Man Blog alley!

Many thanks to Morgan for permission to use some photos from his web-site.

Saturday 24 September 2011

The Jetsonics live at The Grey Horse, Kingston on Saturday October 1st

The Jetsonics will play at The Grey Horse, 46 Richmond Road, Kingston-Upon-Thames KT2 5EE on Saturday October 01st, kick-off is from 8.30pm and tickets are £5.00 on the door.

The band have recorded four great new tracks for their second E.P. and will complete the final mixing soon. Hopefully it will be ready for their appearance at the Retro Man Promotions night on October 14th at the Half Moon, along with The Past Tense and The Len Price 3.

Monday 19 September 2011

A Big Thank You...! the sites and individuals that have kindly helped me to promote the Retro Man Promotions night at the Half Moon in Putney on October 14th featuring The Len Price 3, The Jetsonics and The Past Tense. A big "Cheers!" to all the great sites featured below, you can click the highlighted links to take you directly to their sites for more information.

As the name says, you can OD on Power Pop here. Hundreds of recommendations, links and downloads of the best international Power Pop and Garage Rock music around.

Excellent Blog featuring comments and downloads on mainly Mod Revival and Punk music but with a bit of footie and personal musings on a variety of topics thrown in too. Pete also runs the superb Punk & Mod button badge shop already featured on Retro Man here. 

A huge resource on all things Mod - not only a members forum to share photos, reviews and chat but also up to the minute news on all the latest Mod happenings around. Whether it is a club, gig, photo exhibition - you'll find it here.

Great Mod broadcasts featuring cool sounds from various shows including one of my favourite Podcasts, Mr Suave's Mod Mod World.

Super-cool scene-setting site and magazine promoting 21st century Modernist and 60's underground music culture. Promoters of successful club nights and events such as Crossfire, Modstock, Mousetrap and Le Beat Bespoké.

Huge resource site, forum and members area for all fans of raunchy, wild rock 'n' roll old and new. Also produce the excellent Garage Punk Podcast.

Cool gigs listing for London.

I'd recommend you having a look at these sites as, not only are they all are mighty fine, but they also happen to like The Len Price of course that means they have the ultimate in good taste!

Click the highlighted names above to take you to the sites directly.

Also, thanks to Adam Donovan, Mayumi, Paul Slattery, Francis Barry-Walsh.

Thanks again to all for the support, it's appreciated and if anyone from the above sites can make it on the 14th, I'll be happy to buy you a pint, or two!

Saturday 17 September 2011

Soho & The Roots of the Swinging 60's - by Back In The Day

Photo taken from BITD's website
I attended a great guided walk recently entitled “Soho and the roots of the Swinging Sixties”, it was organised by a company called Back In The Day and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Our Guide was Barrie Greene, a very engaging and friendly chap who had an infectious enthusiasm for the Soho area, the music and fashion of the early sixties.

Barrie concentrated more on the beginnings of the Swinging Sixties, the original scene setters and music of the time. This was interesting to me as most of the real movers and shakers were either overshadowed by their acolytes or remained in the background, so often get overlooked. You might be surprised to learn that some names, probably considered a little "un-cool" now, were in fact right there on the front lines! Who could they be...?

He explained how the Mods got their name and what they really listened and danced to, aswell as where they bought their clothes. You will learn about the various eclectic foreign influences on what is considered a very British youth movement.

Barrie talks passionately about some of the live acts he saw and also about some of the future stars that were starting out. He tells us exactly who gave the young Charlie Watts, Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger their first breaks in the music business. 
We are also regaled with many interesting and humourous anecdotes that put in place various diverse characters ranging from Christine Keeler to the infamous Kray Twins. Learn how Ready Steady Go! recruited their ultra-hip audience and what linked The Scene nightclub to a future Mott The Hoople and Clash producer. Find out which Sixties fashion guru has a plaque dedicated to them on Carnbaby Street, and it's not Mary Quant!

Barrie outside O'Neill's Irish Pub where he explains what famous venue this used to be - Photo by Steve Worrall
So, a great fun and informative way to see and learn not only about the legendary musical sites and characters of Soho, but also the development of music and fashion in the Sixties. To find out more information and enquire about future Back In The Day walks please click here.

Friday 16 September 2011

Danny & The Champions of The World head out on a U.K. tour on Sunday - here are the dates confirmed. You can click the highlighted venue names below for tickets and check out more info on the band's web-site here

18   The Railway (SXSC Festival)  WINCHESTER
19   The Jericho Tavern OXFORD
20   The Cooler BRISTOL
21   Hare & Hounds BIRMINGHAM
22   Bush Hall LONDON
24   King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut GLASGOW
25   The Harley Bar SHEFFIELD
26   The Cluny NEWCASTLE
27   Brudenell Social Club LEEDS
28   Bodega Social Club NOTTINGHAM
29   Deaf Institute MANCHESTER

Here's the video for the new single "You Don't Know (My Heart Is In The Right Place)"

Thursday 15 September 2011

Little Roy "Battle For Seattle" - Reggae tribute to Nirvana

Veteran Jamaican vocalist Little Roy has released a fantastic covers album called "Battle For Seattle" featuring reggae versions of ten Nirvana tracks. It includes classics such as "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Come As You Are" alongside lesser known numbers like "Dive" and "Very Ape". The album was produced by Prince Fatty and is out on Ark Records now. It's well worth getting hold's a taster.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Shonen Knife live at The Scala Kings Cross September 11th

Well, it’s hard to believe that it’s been such a long time since I first saw Shonen Knife, almost twenty years in fact. It was back in 1992, at the Reading Festival, the band were on the bill at the invitation of headliners Nirvana. I enjoyed their set so much that I went along to see them at their own headline show at the Clapham Grand a few days later. Things have changed since then, I had some hair and a semblance of a waistline for a start, but even harder to believe than that was Sunday’s gig at the Scala was advertised as Shonen Knife’s 30th anniversary party. 
Yes, it’s been 30 years since Naoko Yamano led the band, from their early Raincoats, Slits inspired recordings that would go on to make fans of Kurt Cobain, Sonic Youth, Sub-Pop Records and John Peel. Naoko hasn’t changed though, she looks amazing as the band take the stage, Shonen Knife scarves held aloft, soaking up the rapturous welcoming applause. The enthusiasm from the crowd packed in front of the stage makes for a superb atmosphere and as the band slam into "Konnichiwa", a cheerful welcome to the show and smiles break out all around. 
Shonen Knife at The Scala - Photo by Steve Worrall
"Twist Barbie" from their major breakthrough album "Let's Knife" is next and then "Perfect Freedom" a great track from the last album "Free Time".  Bassist Ritsuko Taneda has an amazing stage presence, a ball of energy with a huge smile that appears through her flailing hair. She reminds me of Jennifer Finch, the ultra-cool bassist from L7. "Map Master" and "Bear up Bison" are next, both keep the momentum up superbly.
Naoko has developed into a great charismatic front person, the crowd cheer mightily when she approaches the front of the stage to flick out her guitar riffs. My highlight of the night is the impossibly catchy "Capybara" from the last album, a jaunty Ska flavoured number with one of those choruses that gets lodged in your head for days. Excellent new drummer Emi Morimoto sings "I Am a Cat" and then it's into "Devil's House" on which Ritsuko takes the lead vocals.
Naoko from Shonen Knife - Photo by Steve Worrall
"E.S.P." leads into the crowd favourite sing-along "Banana Chips" and then my favourite Shonen Knife track "Ride the Rocket". The set ends with two powerful rock-outs in "Economic Crisis" from "Free Time" and the classic "Cobra vs. Mongoose" and then it's over all too quickly.
The band return for a well deserved encore and storm through three tracks from their new “Osaka Ramones” tribute album. Each of the girls taking turns to sing lead vocals on cover versions of Ramones classics "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker", "The KKK Took My Baby Away" and a triumphant "Blitzkrieg Bop". There's a great reception from the crowd and the band look very happy as they finally leave the stage, but sadly it's all over.
Shonen Knife take the applause - Photo by Steve Worrall
It’s great to see that after 30 years Shonen Knife have not lost that wonderful sense of innocence and fun that makes them so appealing. Their knack of melding catchy harmony filled bubble-gum rock with hilarious lyrical subject matters such as the Japanese obsessions with cute animals and food is a winning formula. Long may they continue to cause outbreaks of intense happiness and huge smiles around the world!
Shonen Knife after the show - L to R: Naoko, Ritsuko and Emi (Photo by Steve Worrall)
The band have a great web-site and although most of it is in Japanese, there are tons of photos, tour diaries and blogs from each band member, it's well worth a look here. There is also a MySpace site in English here